Nobody is quite sure when it happened.
Despite the fuzziness on the date, there's no doubt about what has transpired: Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones has a legitimate shot to be taken in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
OK, to be fair, that depends on how much stock you put in the draftniks' ridiculously early predictions for next year. Still, ever since the 2011 draft ended, the calls of Jones as a first rounder in '12 have been building steam:
- Barry Switzer buys it.
- Andrew Perloff of SI.com is projecting the 'Stache as the third pick overall next year by QB guru Mike Holmgren in Cleveland.
- WalterFootball.com has Jones going 13th to the Dolphins.
- Peter Schrager of FOXSports.com also has Jones heading to Miami, albeit a couple picks later.
Let that sink in for a moment, sports fans. The confused kid who struggled to carry Sam Braford's water in that debacle of an '09 season now could join The Big Easy as the only Sooner signal callers ever taken in the first round.
(This all assumes Jones would leave OU with a year of eligibility left, of course.)
From the jump as a redshirt freshman, Jones displayed the kind of physical tools in game action that made him a candidate to be drafted - good size, OK feet, decent arm strength, passable accuracy. Last season, he played with more poise and looked to be in far greater command of the Sooners' uptempo offense.
Better, but first round? That's a horse of a different color.
Setting aside the eye test, Jones does fit the bill from a pure numbers perspective. Using the 13 quarterbacks selected in the first round of the last five drafts, I created a composite of the typical first round QB. (Here's a detailed breakdown.) 'Stache nearly fits it to a T.
Given that we just saw guys like Jake Locker and Christian Ponder go in the upper half of the first round, I guess we shouldn't be shocked that some in the scouting game might view Jones in that same light. I think my hesitance to classify Jones as a top-tier prospect has more to do with the gamble that drafting a quarterback in the first round entails. Miss, which happens on the regular, and your franchise is saddled with a cap-killing clipboard holder.
When I watched Sam Bradford in his second season at OU, I knew I was watching a pro-caliber QB. I feel just as good now about the chances for Stanford's Andrew Luck to succeed.
Personally, I'm just not there with Landry Jones yet. The good news for him is that it's not me he needs to convince.